Cubs’ whopper 8th inning offsets day of bad turns
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org May 21, 2011 11:14PM
Updated: August 30, 2011 12:17AM
BOSTON — The Cubs waited 93 years to get back to Boston, then
another 16 innings to show up.
When they arrived in the eighth inning Saturday night, they did it emphatically, finally energizing the significant Cubs-loving portion of the sellout crowd at Fenway Park with a 9-3 come-from-behind win.
The Cubs put the first seven — and nine of the first 11 — men on base in the eighth against the Red Sox bullpen, taking advantage of three walks and three errors along the way, to score eight runs for their biggest inning in two seasons.
It evened the historic three-game series heading into tonight’s finale and salvaged at least some solace on a bittersweet day on which Matt Garza was scratched from today’s start with elbow stiffness and center fielder Marlon Byrd was forced to leave the game after being hit in the face by a pitch in the second inning.
‘‘To get eight late in a game like that was huge for us,’’ manager Mike Quade said, ‘‘especially with what we had going on today.’’
Byrd’s replacement, Reed Johnson, had the big hit in the eighth — a bases-loaded, two-run double off the left-field wall for the tying and go-ahead runs.
Shortstop Starlin Castro had two hits in the inning — a single after Darwin Barney’s leadoff hit and a run-scoring double with two outs.
Despite the big win, players and staff seemed subdued as Byrd was hospitalized for observation.
‘‘It was tough to see Marlon get hit,’’ said starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano, who says he checked in with the training staff for updates between innings. ‘‘I don’t think [Red Sox pitcher Alfredo] Aceves was trying to hit him. It’s part of the game.
‘‘At the same time, we turned this game in our favor to win this game, which was very important for us.’’
Zambrano pitched two outs into the sixth, throwing 122 pitches and trailing 3-1. Most of the damage against him came on David Ortiz’s two-run homer in the fourth.
Three innings after Byrd’s beaning, Zambrano drilled Kevin Youkilis near the ribs with one out, one on and Ortiz on deck, but Zambrano said it wasn’t payback.
‘‘If I’m trying to hit somebody,’’ he said, ‘‘I normally hit somebody with two outs and nobody on.’’